Tuesday, June 10, 2014

6/9 Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve

The great sand dunes are visible for a long way.  In fact, this is the view I had from my campsite in the state park that is 13 miles away.  They don't look too impressive from this distance, but they are actually over 700 feet tall.

They look a little bigger driving on the road to the national park.

I wondered why the parking lot was so full.  It turns out that the river next to the sand dunes is a great place to spend the afternoon. 

An amazing number of families with children were picnicking and lazing in the very shallow river.  You might, as I did, think the river will be icy cold because it comes from melting snow in the mountains.  Nope. Absolutely bathwater warm.  I stepped in expecting the worst and was very pleasantly surprised!  The water is only a very few inches deep, so I suppose it has enough time to warm up. 

Once you wade across, you need to put your shoes back on because the sand here is rocky and sharp with gravel.

Once on the sand dunes, the sand is much softer. 

The park rents special sand boards or you can bring along your own snow tube and slide down the steeper hills.

So nice to see the mountains behind the dunes.

I could see some people had made it to the top, but not my thing.

This is looking back to the river and the parking lot from the first dune, and the only dune, I climbed up on. 

Anyway, it was nice that it was a cool day today (high of 70) because the dunes are hotter than the surrounding area, and they say the sand gets up to 150 degrees F.

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